Thursday, October 4, 2012


Basic Information: Directed: Armando Garces; Story: Mars Ravelo; Screenplay: Armando Garces; Cast: Vilma Santos, Rosanna Ortiz, Zandro Zamora, Bentot Jr., Eva Linda, Lita Vasquez, Liza Zobel, Diana Villa; Executive producer: Espiridion Laxa; Original Music: Carding Cruz; Cinematography: Amado De Guzman; Film poster: Video48

Plot Description: She is just a simple woman- a lady gifted with disability that she cannot leave her crutch. Narda/Darna (Vilma Santos) is very much contented with her life - having the company of her little brother and their grandmother not to mention her someone special who already accepts and love her for who she is. She has a greatest dream of helping and touching the lives of many but buried that in her heart given the situation that she has. Who would imagine that she will be chosen as the saviour of the Mother Earth against the dangerous attempt of the aliens from other planet? She was chosen to be strong and powerful "Darna", a local superhero whose role is to depend the people and stop the plan of invasion from women in another planet. They want to use the earth as the extension of their planet by killing its people especially the experts in all areas such as metal, nuclear, moral and others. Darna has to act and who knows how much she is going to sacrifice with the given MISSION... - Kabayan Central (READ MORE)

Narda (Vilma Santos) finds her boyfriend (Zandro Zamora) paralyzed by a mysterious beam shot from a UFO. With her brother Ding (Bentot Jr.), she prays for help for her boyfriend. Then, a mysterious voice answers and sends her an enchanted amulet of power. The power of Darna is contained within the magic pebble. With her new powers she now battles The Planet Women, headed by the evil Elektra (Rosanna Ortiz), who paralyzed her boyfriend, and then foils their plan to move the Earth to their home star system. Also stars Lita Vasquez, Eva Linda, and Diana Villa as The Planet Women. -

Film Achievement: Vilma Santos’ third successful film as Darna/Narda fighting aliens called planet women.

Film Reviews: In this 1975 film (the 3rd in a 4 Darna film franchise), the story of Darna is rebooted as this new installment is NOT a continuation of the 1st and 2nd films. In this revamped version, Narda (Vilma Santos) is a cripple who dreams of accomplishing great things for the betterment of humankind despite her physical limitations. One day, she discovers her suitor (Zandro Zamora) paralyzed after having been attacked by a UFO. Together with her brother Ding (Bentot Jr.), she prays for help and offers to sacrifice herself for the sake of her suitor’s survival. A voice from beyond answers and sends her an enchanted amulet of power. The power of Darna contained within the magic pebble. With her newfound powers, she battles The Planet Women- Alien Amazons who are trying to transport the Earth to their own star system. - Mars Ravelo’s Darna

Darna vs. the Planet Women was the third, as well as the next to last, Darna film to star Santos, though you might not guess that from watching it. For some reason it was decided -- despite the fact that Santos' debut as Darna, Lipad, Darna, Lipad, had been far and away the most successful Darna film ever -- that, three films later, a Batman Begins should be done on Darna, rebooting the series and, in the process, altering certain aspects of the lore that had surrounded the character in the previous films. And so, with Planet Women we get a retelling of Darna's origin that for some reason recasts her formerly able-bodied alter ego Narda as being disabled by a gimp leg. But before that retelling, we're treated to a half hour or so of light village melodrama, during which Narda bickers with her somewhat thick-witted boyfriend Ramon (Zandro Zamora) and bears up nobly to repeated taunting by a gang of liquored-up local rowdies (who you just know are due for some big time payback once Darna Time comes around). At this time we are also reintroduced to Narda's little brother, Ding -- here played by Bentot Jr. -- who acts as Narda's confidante, constant companion, and a very informal sidekick once she makes the transformation to superheroine. Ding is a chunky little wiseass in an ever-present striped shirt who will readily shake his undersized fist and mug defiantly at a bad guy as long as Darna's around for him to hide behind in the event of retaliation. In short, put this kid in some overalls, give him a monkey, and render him as a cartoon and he's a dead-ringer for Spritle from Speed Racer. Ding reaps many benefits from having a superhero for a big sis, as we see in those scenes where he gets to ride Darna like a pony as she flies through the skies above the islands.

Finally the Planet Women, a band of bikini-clad space amazons who are each color coded with a different shade of primary-hued body paint, make their appearance, interestingly choosing a small rural village in the Philippines as ground zero for their invasion of Earth. As their first act of conquest, they put the whammy on Narda's beau Ramon with a paralyzer ray -- by appearances, simply because he was unlucky enough to be wandering around in the vicinity of their flying saucer. Narda then happens upon Ramon in his frozen state and falls to her knees in lamentation, only to be answered by a surprisingly laid-back sounding voice from the heavens who reassures her and sends down to her a small stone with the name "Darna" written on it in glitter. Following the voice's instructions, she swallows the stone, shouts "Darna", and is instantly replaced by the scantily clad super amazon we've all been waiting to see -- a transformation that leaves even young Ding unable to restrain himself from exclaiming about what a hottie his sister has suddenly become. The Planet Women, who are lead by the Ronald McDonald be-wigged Electra (Rosanna Ortiz), come armed with a shopping list of Earth scientists whom they plan to abduct, setting the stage for most of the movie's action, which involves Darna's efforts to thwart those abductions. This leads to some of Darna vs. the Planet Women's most indelible moments, including a scene where Darna bursts through the wall of one of the imperiled professors' homes, leaving a perfect, Darna-shaped hole behind her, and a rooftop kung fu fight between her and a Planet Woman that I'll just refer to as "the blue one". This is a film that goes out of its way to show that our heroine is truly a woman of her times, and so, in addition to a lengthy scene in which Darna shows her stuff on the disco floor, we're given a weirdly static kung fu match that consists almost entirely of Bruce Lee-style stance-taking and smirky goading of the opponent with come-hither hand gestures, and almost no actual fighting.

In comparison to the utilitarian and nearly mute performance of Eva Montes in Darna and the Tree Monster, the last Darna film I had the pleasure of watching, Vilma Santos gives us a Darna who is brimming with personality, boasting a charming combo of golly-gosh do-gooderism and cocky, cobra-necked bravado. By dint of this, she even seems to win over the Planet Women themselves, who turn out to be much more honorable than your average Earth-coveting space invaders. Ultimately, Electra and Darna agree to settle the whole matter woman-to-woman, and when Darna comes out of the fight on top, the Planet Women, true to their word, pack up their stuff and head back from whence they came. With its dodgy technical execution and resolutely rural sensibility, Darna vs. the Planet Women is third world pulp cinema at its purest, with the most extreme example of conspicuous consumption seen on screen being the destruction of a chicken shack. Still, you just know that I'm going to say that I enjoyed it anyway, and I did. Vilma Santos makes for an appealingly plucky heroine, and it's not hard to see why she is such a beloved figure in her country. On top of that, the film, like the most savvy hostess, shows that it knows how to entertain on a budget, delivering up a generous amount of cheesy thrills with the simple application of colored paints on an impressive expanse of exposed flesh, some imaginative repurposing of discarded household objects in its cash-strapped sci-fi sets, and some truly head-slap worthy primitive special effects. That's enough to guaranty that I'll be taking another return trip to Darnaland in the very near future. - Darna vs. the Planet Women (1975)

Darna VS. The Planet Women (Dec. 25,1975) Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions, Christmas Presentation. In this 1975 film (the 3rd in a 4 Darna film franchise), the story of Darna is rebooted as this new installment is NOT a continuation of the 1st and 2nd films. In this revamped version, Narda (Vilma Santos) is a cripple who dreams of accomplishing great things for the betterment of humankind despite her physical limitations. One day, she discovers her suitor (Zandro Zamora) paralyzed after having been attacked by a UFO. Together with her brother Ding (Bentot Jr.), she prays for help and offers to sacrifice herself for the sake of her suitor’s survival. A voice from beyond answers and sends her an enchanted amulet of power. The power of Darna contained within the magic pebble. With her newfound powers, she battles The Planet Women-Alien Amazons who are trying to transport the Earth to their own star system. - Vol 1, Issue 5 V Magazine

"Due to the Internet, one day soon I'm sure information on all of the cinematic obscurities of the world will be available to us, but at the moment it's still wonderful to uncover a country's hidden pop culture hitherto unnoticed by the rest of the planet. Take Video48, a mind-shattering trip into the uncharted realms of Filipino cinema, featuring a menagerie of stills, posters and articles from films I never even dared to dream existed! I stumbled across home-grown super-heroes such as Mars Revelo's Darna a few years back, and Eric Cueto's fansite provided a wealth of information on her cinematic adventures, (whilst also revealing tantalising glimpses of her on-screen contemporaries), but I certainly hadn't realised the extent to which comic book characters pervaded the Philippine big-screen. Chances are the country was second only to Turkey when it came to cinematic Super-heroes - Darna herself has starred in 14 films and two TV series, which certainly puts Wonder Woman to shame...Sadly most of these fantasy films are unlikely to have survived - the condition of the Vilma Santos' early Darna movies is supposedly so wretched that a DVD release has been permanently canned, and ancient VHS copies of Darna & the Giants and Darna & the Planet Women are jealously guarded by the few collectors who salvaged them from rental shops. Just as in Turkey, these films were probably considered to be as disposable as the comic books on which they were based - but I for one would go ga-ga for a double bill of this years The Dark Knight with 1973's Fight Batman Fight (fair enough, my brain might melt out of my ears afterwards, but what a way to go..." - Poptique (READ MORE)

Vilma Santos returns as the Pinoy Wonder Woman in the third of her four Darna films. This time around Narda is a plucky, somewhat disabled village girl who prays for justice and mercy in a world beset by pointless brutality, represented here by a gang of fairly unambitious local bullies. When her boyfriend Ramon (Zandro Zamora) is frozen by a mysterious ray from a UFO her prayers are answered in the form of a magic pebble which enables her to transform into Amazonian superbeauty Darna. She rescues her boyfriend, who is being used by a gang of female aliens, the titular (heh) Planet Women, as a source of information on all the world's leading authorities on nuclear power, metallurgy, and, er, morality (all of whom live within comfortable abducting distance of Darna's village in the arse-end of nowhere) so that they, the Planet Women, can kidnap these elite thinkers and use their knowledge to steal the planet Earth and take it to their overpopulated solar system of Arko Eris. - (READ MORE)

"...Darna may be easily dismissed by many as a cheap Pinoy knockoff of Superman or Wonder Woman, but there's much more to her. Since her first appearance in the burgeoning komik industry in 1947, she captured the imagination of the komik-reading underclasses: Narda is an innocent country lass who has superpowers thrust upon her transforming her into the costumed Darna to protect the world, the Philippines, her village, her family, and most of all, her younger brother Ding. It's wish fulfilment for girls, pure cheesecake for boys, and after sixty years - her first film appearance was in 1950, the last TV series three years ago - Darna is still a much-revered staple of Philippines pop culture. Vilma took over the role in 1973 in a crazed, Mad Magazine style satiric reimagining called Lipad, Darna, Lipad, and over four appearances in the next seven years, would arguably become the actress most associated with the role. Darna vs The Planet Women from 1975 is the most fun and certainly most colourful of Vilma's stint, thought strangely enough it's as if the previous Darna adventures had never occurred, or had slipped into a Black Hole where most of the Philippines' lost cinema must also exist. Instead we are reintroduced to Narda, unremarkable country lass with a heart of gold and serious limp. Her two great loves, it seems, are chubby little brother Ding, and her awkward beau Ramon. An altercation with the local goons ends with a flying saucer suddenly appearing over a field, and Ramon is beamed aboard. It's a ship piloted by Elektra (Rosanna Ortiz), blue leader of a pack of painted space floozies clad in primary colour wigs, shower caps and AM radios strapped to them. Narda feels bad about losing her guy to a space sorority, but a kindly voice tells her to stop worrying, and plonks a magic stone in her lap. On the cry of “Darna!”, Narda transforms from unglamorous barrio girl – unassuming, with very little makeup - into gaudy statue of pure womanhood. No wonder poor Ding's eyeballs are almost dropping to the ground like marbles. The Planet Women, it seems, are here to study human behaviour- whether they like it or not – and are intent on kidnapping the world's leading scientists. Not so, says Darna, who flies into their space ship to play the jealous girlfriend bit. She gets back Ramon, but it won't be the last time the Planet Women gain control over the weak-willed boob. It's a real battle of minds: desperate kung-fu kicking Star Slappers against the self-righteous Darna in an escalating series of face-offs and showdowns for the ultimate prize – the fate of the Universe itself..." - Andrew Leavold (READ MORE)

"...Darna Vs. The Planet Women is the third film in the franchise where Santos was the superhero. The first two were Lipad! Darna! Lipad! and Darna And The Giants. Currently, I have three of the four Santos as Darna films, which includes the Darna At Ding film minus the Lipad! Darna! Lipad! movie. And the funny thing about this is that I am not even a Darna fan. Maybe I just enjoy the nostalgia and novelty behind it. Though I reasonably enjoy the acting in the seventies. Fairly slow and predictable but can still be digested without the help of any liquid. With the seventies having the bombardment of local films, a movie like this can tell that this was actually immortalized and currently sold to the public meaning a few or a lot of people could’ve clamored for such film, though this point greatly contradicts to my earlier statement, my apologies. But I am sticking to my own disagreement. It would’ve been nice if this film garnered cult status. You can really see the similarities of the villains of this film versus the villains in Zsazsa Zaturnnah. It feels that the creator of Zaturnnah took something from this fantasy film and eventually understands that he or she could’ve paid homage to this movie. Such film is a definite for the Darna fan and anyone who adores screaming drag queen outfits and such..." - Pinoy Film Zealot (READ MORE)

Darna is Not a 'Rip-off" of Wonder Woman - "...Because of the character's immense popularity, several other studios would license the character and produce more Darna movies throughout the next several decades. After Rosa Del Rosario, Vilma Santos (who first played Darna in 1973's "Lipad, Darna, Lipad") would be the most well known and the most in demand to play the character. She starred in a total of 4 Darna movies. Her 4th and final one being in 1980. For years after that, no more Darna movies were produced..." - Raffy Arcega, Comic Book Movie (READ MORE)

Intergalactic Warrior - "...There were comic-inspired franchises that never travelled beyond their own borders, such as the Darna series from the Philippines in the 1970s - she was an intergalactic warrior disguised as an earthling - and which helped actress Vilma Santos turn the fame she achieved into a political career that still sees her serving as governor of Batangas province..." - Matt Scott, South China Morning Post, 20 April, 2014 (READ MORE)



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...